Monday, March 30, 2015

My review of the Miele Complete C2 Bagged Powerline Vacuum Cleaner & the Reviewer's panel

I recently learned that internet electrical s giant have a thing where you can review and keep an item from them for free. They get sent the products by the companies to get customer feedback for their websites and they send these out to customers free of charge!

So what's the catch?

There isn't one genuinely - to take part in a review you have to:

1. make a short video explaining why you want to be a reviewer and which item you want to review (this is mine)
2. upload the video to you tube and send them a link either via their facebook page or via the review teams e-mail.
3. if they like it they get back in touch with you and let you know what they have available. If your chosen item isn't available they will ask if you would like to review anything else or offer to put you on a waiting list for your chosen item.
4. once you have agreed to review an item they arrange for it to be sent out on a day that is convenient for you - including saturday's if your working !
5. once your item has arrived you need to make a short video review of it with key features, pros/cons and it in action. You also have to do a written review. These have to be submitted within 7 days. If your review is accepted then thats it - it will be published on their website and the item is yours to keep - simples!

So I got to choose between 3 different hoovers for my review and I chose the Miele Complete C2 Powerline Vac.

I have to say the communication from the team was fantastic throughout.

The delivery company were also brilliant - they text me the day before delivery to let me know they were coming and then on the day they text me with a delivery time slot they were going to deliver within. They did actually deliver within the stated time slot too. All in all have to say the whole experience has been great with them.

My you tube review is HERE

This is my written review that I submitted to but slightly tweaked to include some of the photos I took which I couldnt include on the review as they only allow 2 photos lol

What's in the box?

This vacuum comes in several easy to fit together pieces:
  • the vacuum unit
  • the flexible hose
  • the solid hose
  • the curved join piece
  • the standard brush head

They all fit together really easily using a 'snap and click' motion. To ensure you don't force them together too tightly they have little buttons that snap into place as you fit them with an audible click sound. To put it all together took me less than 30 seconds. Super fast and super easy. Once together it's very sturdy. To take it apart there are clips which you just press twist and pull and it comes apart. Again super quick and super easy especially for storage.

Inside the vacuum there is a compartment with 3 additional heads to fit to the hoover, a narrow one for doing corners/tight spaces, a brush for furniture etc and a head for using on different surfaces. They fit snuggly into the storage compartment without rattling or slipping out.

The vacuum comes with a bag already fitted and all the filters fitted. These can be replaced via the Miele website as required.

Fantastic Features:

This vacuum has several features that I really liked and found useful

  • 10m power cord – this is fantastic it means you don't have to keep unplugging it when moving from room to room – in fact I was able to completely vacuum my living room, hallway, stairs, and 1 bedroom without unplugging it. This is a great time saver. The cord is retractable via a button on the base unit which means your not tripping over it when it isn't in use, also because you have to press the button to retract the cable it's not going to accidentally pull the plug from the wall due to tension in it.

  • 360 degree castor feet – for me this means ease of movement – I can move from room to room and over different surfaces with complete ease, no getting stuck on edges or jammed in corners. This makes it easy to quickly vacuum several areas with ease.

  • The bag full indicator – it shows you when your bag is getting full – great it means I know in advance that I need to order and replace new bags so I dont get caught out

How well does it do the job?

I have 4 cats and a shitzu dog so we are pretty much fur central add to that a messy 18 month old who enjoys dropping biscuits and crackers into the carpet and mashing them in and your talking mess central. This vacuum coped with ease. Didn't even need to use it on the maximum setting. Literally once over and BOOM clean and clear – I genuinely couldn't believe it was actually that good and powerful. As I only had to do each area once to pick everything up it was super fast to use . My living room rug used to take me 10 minutes to do having to do it from each angle and go over several times to get it clean. Not with this vacuum literally up down across and repeat – whole rug done in around 1 minute.

Also it picks up everything – I've tried it on kitty litter, dirt, talcum powder, crushed food, paper shredding, sawdust, glitter, fur problem with any of those things. It left things looking super clean and like new.

It has a long reach as well the hose is around 2m long and then the solid pole extends to about the same length as well so reaching those cobwebs and spiders on the ceiling is super easy.

It also looks really nice and is small and compact which means easy storage.

What I don't like so much:
  • it is heavy – it's not a huge problem as the castors mean you can drag it from room to room so no carrying. Main issue with the weight was doing the stairs the long hose helped with this but I still had to carry it down every couple of steps.
  • It is loud. Even on the quiet setting. I live in a maisonette with another family living in the one below me – sadly if the urge appears to do late night or early morning cleaning it's a no-no as it would disturb my neighbours. On the plus side it's so quick to use the noise wouldn't be a big problem as its over with quickly.
  • Small bags – the bags don’t look like they hold a lot and the compartment where they fit is pretty small too. After doing every room the bag was pretty full. I vacuum every day and could see me needing to replace the bag every 2-3 days which would be a nuisance and could be expensive.

Would I recommend this item? Having used it on a variety of surfaces and items I would recommend it. I think it's an excellent vacuum and ideal for use in a small flat/home where there is going to be heavy duty soiling from children/pets.

+ 365 Day 87


Today was Sunday Funday (kinda)

Me, my mum and niece went to see The Duff. It was pretty good - really predictable but the cast were god and it had some really funny bits too :).

After the film we were all hungry so I took us to our favourite all you can eat indian buffet. It's at a place called the Kismet and it's only £2.99 per person. For that you have around 6 different chicken dishes (sauce with chicken wings and thighs in it), some veggie indian dishes that I dont eat, noodles, saag aloo, onion bhajee, bombay potato, rice and naan bread. The food is good, hot, tasty and fresh and if they run out of anything you just give them a shout and they refill it.

After stuffing ourselves silly we came home and took a nap and then I spent the evening watching random TV and entering some comps :)

It was nice to have a chill out day where we could just forget about all the crap that has been going on and relax

Today's positive is time out - and today it was needed :)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

+ 365 Day 86


Despite yesterday's sad news today hasn't been too bad. I cried a lot last night so I woke up really snotty and bunged up this morning.

I've agreed to go to my aunties place on Monday with my mum so we can help sort everything out regarding registering her death, the funeral, the bills etc. I've never had to do something like this before. I'm not sure why her hubby thinks I can do it? I work in admin but in a completely different field.

My other uncle her older brother went to see her today in the chapel of rest and said she looked peaceful and like she was asleep. I am glad he was able to get that closure.

It feels wrong to say it but there is almost an element of relief that its over. It's been really difficult coping with everything hanging on a thread now shes gone we can grieve properly and carry on. We wont forget her but we can compartmentalise the loss so we can continue to function and carry on with our lives.

So what else happened today?

My new hoover from arrived I will be putting my review up in a couple of days.

My honey monster tee shirt arrived with a signed photo from the monster himself - I gave it to my mum as they didnt have any in my size which was slightly gutting

A free sample of felix crunchy cat food arrived ( a pouch with a sachet of biscuits you sprinkle on top) Lady had that for her supper and devoured it happily

A free sample of burberry lippie arrived - thats going in my nieces christmas hamper.

My dad was down so I took him to the flea market for a bit - it's got really busy there since the last time we went - he bought a set of comedy dvds for £1 and I bought Jac dog an easter pressie of winnie the pooh in a bunny outfit - Jac loves his cuddly toys although it doesnt take him too long to destroy them. Got it from a doggy rescue stall for 50p. Last of the big spenders.

Thats about it really. I dropped dad at the station to get his coach back to west wales and came home and did my video review and written review of the hoover for ao and then spent lots of time with people calling about aunty chris and watched tv and entered some competitions as I doubt i'll have time next week

I managed to get 3 free tickets to go to a preview of a new comedy called The Duff for tomorrow morning for me, my mam and my niece, at  local cinema.

Today's positive - all the calls and messages of support from people, the nice comments and memories of my aunty being shared.

+ 365 Days 85

Day 85 - Friday

Today was not a good day. My aunt took a turn for the worse and the decision was made to turn off everything, remove all drips etc and let her go. The only thing they gave her was morphine to ensure there was no pain. She passed within 3 hours of everything being turned off with her husband and my uncle her younger brother and his partner with her. It was apparently very peaceful which we are grateful for.

Today I am thankful to the hospital staff who did their best to save her - sadly her body couldn't take anymore and her spirit had given up.

I am thankful she went peacefully with family around her.

We might be in pieces but she is at peace RIP aunty chris - god mother -  friend - I will miss you

Thursday, March 26, 2015

+ 365 day 84

Day 84 Wednesday

Today was another good day - not that anything amazing happened but I felt happy, woke up happy and spent the day happy.

No news about my aunty so taking that as a sign no news is good news shes still opening her eyes sporadically and still breathing unaided.

I'm feeling more positive - I think it's because the sun is coming back - amazing the way the weather can impact on your mood.

I am also happy because I have 161 days until my holidays - I am super excited about my holidays.

I'm sure I have posted before but I'm going to post again because I'm super excited about my hols so this is what we are doing:

- coach down to gatwick
- staying at gatwick central travelodge (we have stayed here before basic but nice)

- fly to Toronto
- coach from Toronto to Niagara Falls

- trip under/around Niagara Falls on a boat - explore Niagara Falls

- explore Niagara Falls and relax

- coach to airport
- fly to Las Vegas

- Vegas Baby!

- Grand Canyon day trip

- Ghost towns!

- Uncle flies home (he doesn't fancy Disney)
- Me, mum and niece fly to Disney World Orlando whoop whoop
- Staying at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort (it's fab!)

- Disney

- Disney

- Disney

- Disney

- Disney

- Disney

- Disney
- taxi to I-drive where we are going to be staying at the Enclave (again stayed here before and its a good location for I-drive)

- Busch Gardens

- Shopping malls!!!!
- Flea Markets !!!!
- Walmart

- Seaworld

- Universal Studios

- Disney (and possibly Mickey's Not so Scary Halloween Party)

- Universal Islands of Adventure

- Beach

- Aquatica

- shopping
- fly home :(

So that's the rough plan for my mammoth holidays :D

Yes so todays positive is being positive and having something to look forward to!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

+ 365 Day 83

Today is Tuesday - Chooseday

Today I choose to be happy :)

Today has been a good day - I'm not sure why I just feel happier and more positive

Also I came home today and my phone was waiting for me - I feel bad for doubting the person who found it. I still cant believe someone sent it back to me its a £350 phone! Can't believe there are still nice people out there!

So today's positive - just waking up on the right side of the bed, being in a good mood all day and getting my phone back.

It's nice to feel happy again :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

+ 365 Day 82


Why is the work week sooooo long yet the weekend sooooo short? LOL

Today was a good day in work - I got loads done despite my computer crashing numerous times and kicking me out of programmes after I had written massive long casenotes which I then lost grrr - I keep asking for a new computer but I dont think they want to give me one!

No news on my aunty yet - but keeping positive no news is good news right?

Today we went out for dinner with my uncle - we wanted to go to our local carvery but they had the cheek to close it for a refurb - how rude! So we went to a local pub instead which has a lovely atmosphere and nice food. I had a delicious chicken, bacon and garlic tagliatelle - it was seriously good and I cleared the plate :) My uncle ordered the mixed grill which was mahoosive - seriously half a dead farm was on the plate - and he doesnt like steak so I ended up having his steak as well as my own food.

We had a good chat about the holidays and stuff and he seemed really upbeat which was great as he's been a bit depressed recently what with my aunty being so unwell and his health not being good.

So today's positive is a repeat of an earlier one and that is good times with family :)

** The lack of photos on the blog (and updates to the wins/freebies) is due to my lack of phone to take photos - it's apparently been posted today so hopefully I will have it back by the end of the week and can make things a bit more interesting with photos again:) ) **

Sunday, March 22, 2015

+365 day 81


Today I went to see my aunty in ICU. She's in the isolation suite due to the raging infection. We had to remove all loose clothing and put on aprons and gloves before going in.

She started opening her eyes yesterday but not in a meaningful way - they aren't sure if it's purposeful or not as she wouldn't do it on command or anything.

Today's visit was odd. When I spoke to her she did open her eye a bit. She seemed to respond to our voices but she didn't communicate. She only partially opened one eye so we asked her to open both eyes which she did eventually and slowly. She also seemed to move her head a bit in response to our voices. This is a positive sign - its not an amazing miracle she's alive sign though.

I noticed her one arm was turning blue which I pointed out to her nurse - it also felt boiling hot. The nurse didnt see what I meant at first and then she noticed it was in fact turning blue and swollen - I pointed out the blue tinge was tracking up her arm. She propped her arm on a pillow and after 10 mins or so the blueness started to fade a bit and her arm felt cooler - all the blood and infection was pooling :(

Her other arm which was swollen massively has started to come down as well but in general she's swollen all over with water retention due to the kidney failure. They had taken her off dialysis but have restarted it today.

The raging infection is still raging - it's not responded to the usual meds so they are now working on less common ones in cocktail form to try and defeat it.

My aunty is covered in bruises - literally her entire body is bruised - there are tonnes of bruises up and down her arms from where they have jabbed her, there are bruises around her throat, her ears and her shoulders from the various treatments and tubes. Add that to the swelling and the billion of tubes and wires trailing from her and its not a brilliant thing to see.

Another small positive today was they had taken her off the ventilator and she is now breathing by herself - previously she couldnt.

We told the nurse a bit about her - names of the family and her pets so they could mention them to her when they are talking to her so that its meaningful for her if she can hear them.

So overall after todays visit that roller coaster is starting to head up again and the hope is starting to spark.

I am struggling as are the rest of the family with coming to terms with it all. We worked it out it's been 2 weeks and 4 days since she was first admitted with abdominal pain. How can someone in 2 weeks go from walking and talking to in a coma when there has been nothing to make it happen is what we are struggling with - how could she be so sick and yet be sent home by the hospital the week before and her gp just said take more pills. It seems pretty mad - just over 2 weeks ago my mum was telling her to get her butt to the dr's if her legs were swollen to sort it out. Aunty Chris is a retired nurse, she's super smart and yet she didn't recognise there was something seriously wrong. I think thats the worse part - did she actually know she was really sick and going into organ failure? she told my sister before going in that she was going to die - did she see the signs and recognise them and ignore them?

Hopefully we will get the chance to ask her - hopefully she will respond purposefully to our voices and answer our questions.

Tomorrow the consultant will be round to see her, tomorrow they will decide what to do about the infection. Now she is breathing unaided if they switch the machines off I dont know what will happen or if they should. Now she's opening her eyes will it change her treatment?

All I know is today we are thankful she's still with us. We dont want to lose her and that little spark of hope has been fanned by seeing her open her eyes and move her head. Such tiny things but they have a mega impact.

What happens tomorrow happens tomorrow for tonight I am glad I went to visit her and she knows we haven't given up on her - maybe that will help her not give up too and continue to fight. I hope so

+365 Days 79 & 80

Day 79 - Friday

Today has not been great we found out that my aunty has developed septicemia and now her chances are slim to nil. It's very difficult when someone you love is so unwell that you are told they are likely to die and then you accept that and come to terms with it but there's still a tiny spark of hope in you that a miracle will happen, so when your told things are better than you thought that spark flares up, only to get snuffed out when something else goes wrong and you are told to prepare for the worst again. It's exhausting and you cant tell which way's up.

Having bad news has made finding something positive difficult. Everything at the moment revolves around my aunty and her care and condition and it's impacting on all of us.

However, today was pay day and I did try the amazing new kitkat that is out - it has 2 segments a crunchy bit and a caramel bit and was pretty delicious. So that's about it - my positive was discovering a new version of kitkat and having it for lunch :\

Day 80 - Saturday

Today me and mum headed down to London for the Country Living Fair - I won tickets a while ago and we had booked the coach and everything. Due to aunty chris being unwell we were umming and ahhing about going really but then we decided we would and have a good day.

The fair was cool I bought a new bracelet and some toffee flavour vodka and petted some lambs because being from Wales I rarely get to see sheep :P

Then we headed to Camden which was awesome as always although I managed to lose my phone in a toilet and then it went missing so we spent about an hour with me trying to find it - with the help of a really nice guy who runs the book shop, and then heading down to camden high street to the 3 shop to cancel my sim and stuff.

I was a bit miffed about the phone but decided ah well shit happens I will just get a new one.

Anyways it was freezing so we headed to our favourite pizza place in victoria station for food before coming home where I had a message form my dad to say a girl had my phone and would be posting it home to me. I hope she does :)

So today's positive is having a day away from everything to just chill and explore and not think about the mess that is family life right now

Thursday, March 19, 2015

+ 365 Day 78


Today is a good day because I get paid tomorrow! WOOHOO pay day

I have also been working on my CV as I want to apply for some new jobs. I am lucky enough to have a job which pays okay but I am really bored there - I have been working in the same place now for 9 years, and there is no training opportunities and I am top end of the pay scale too so no pay rises or anything else.

So I am looking at trying something different there are a few jobs I am interested in so been working on getting my CV updated because I haven't updated it in forever.

So while I was working on my CV I as thinking about some of the jobs I have had. I suppose I am lucky as I have never had a gap of more than 6 weeks of being out of work since I was 16.

And I thought I would tell you about some of my jobs:

Shop work - I've worked for tesco, poundstretcher, marks & spencer and asda in their stores - I actually really enjoyed working in shops and it was my first job to

Bar/Restaurant - I've worked for Wetherspoons as a bar maid, an independent cafe in Cardiff as a waitress and in the chippy and restaurant in the UK area in Dineyworld Orlando oh and at McDonalds too

Admin -  Tesco finance and the nhs

Others - Taxi controller for a couple of different companies, stock counter at burberry and working on a market stall

Now the best job was obviously working at disneyworld - being a huge disney geek it was a dream come true - I got to spedn a year working and living in disney and of course playing in the parks!

So the new jobs I am looking into are customer service based and they close this weekend so I kinda need to crack on with the applications :)

Todays positive is being employed :) I may whinge and moan about work but I wouldn't be able to enjoy the things I get to do like day trips and holidays if I didn't have a job to go to

Cut Price Mattresses

Buying Mum a New Mattress for Her Birthday

I recently got a promotion at work, and one of the first things I promised myself if I made more money was to buy my mum something really nice. With her birthday right around the corner, I wanted to spend some money on her on something that she would really enjoy. Her house is full of little things I have bought her over the years, none of which she really needed but hangs onto for my sake I am sure. So I decided this year I was going to buy her something that she would get use out of for years to come. Just last Christmas I bought her a new bed, but getting her a decent mattress too was well out of my budget at the time.

So I decided that I was going to surprise my mum with a brand new good quality sprung mattress. She has always slept on this open coil mattress style because of her back issues. She was involved in an accident a few years ago, and she needs a firm mattress to sleep on each night to relive some of the pain she experiences. My mum does not believe in ever throwing anything away, and I think she would have still been sleeping on her 10 year old mattress if it wasn't for me. So with only a few weeks until her birthday in July, I had to get serious and start shopping for this new standard sprung mattress.

The first thing I did on my day off after my new promotion was to set aside some time looking for the best deal on a new mattress online. I wanted this to be a surprise, and I wanted to try and have it installed in her bed frame before she knew what was happening. She never leaves the house, so not only did I have to find a great mattress, I had to figure out how to coordinate the delivery without blowing the surprise. So I started my search and quickly became overwhelmed at all the online website claiming to have the best deals on new mattresses. Luckily I found a company called cut price mattresses who not only had a huge inventory of sizes and styles, they had a flexible delivery schedule as well.

So I spent some time earlier researching the type of mattress my mum needed. I was not going to mess with success, so I ordered this standard sprung mattress in the firmness she already enjoys. I already knew the mattress size having bought her the bed for Christmas only a few months ago. The order process at this website was lightning fast, getting me to the delivery page in seconds, allowing me to choose the perfect time for her mattress to be delivered. So I decided to choose a lunchtime delivery, and would sneak my mum to the local coffee shop for a birthday drink while my sister sat at the house and let in the delivery guys.

Having dealt with late delivery guys in the past, I had a signal system worked out with my sister so I would know when it was safe to bring her home for her surprise. I had already planned in my head that after lunch that me and mum could go shopping and run errands, keeping her busy for hours if necessary. While we were still eating our muffins in the coffee shop, my phone rang with the message the coast was clear and my sister was heading back to her house. This was only 15 minutes after the scheduled delivery time, I was blown away at how efficiently they arrived and did their job.

So without having to even stall, I drove mum back home and before I left I told her I had a small surprise for her for her birthday that I wanted to give her. We walked into her bedroom, and since my sister made up the bed, you had no idea what was going to happen. I told my mum to sit on her bed, and tell me if she noticed anything. Immediately she knew it was a new mattress!

She was super happy and couldn't thank me enough for it. She's forever telling me it's the best night's sleep she's ever had.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

+ 365 Day 77


Today brought home to me how much the weather affects my mood. When it's sunny I'm much happier, even when its a crisp winter's day I'm happy but as soon as the rain starts or it gets grey and miserable I start getting grumpy. I'm pretty sure I should be leaving somewhere warm & sunny like the gorgeous city of San Diego (any american companies out there wanting to sponsor someone with zero skills and minimum wage earning abilities please look me up :P ).

Anyways today it's been sunny in the 'diff - for anyone reading not in Wales a sunny day in the 'diff is a good day! We have a beautiful green country thats kept green by the abundance of showers and rain we get all through spring, summer autumn and winter! So lovely sunny days are to be savoured and enjoyed.

Sadly I was in work but managed to get out for a nice long walk in the sunshine on my lunch break.

I am happy that the weather is starting to improve, I can't wait for the summer, to go camping and kayaking, to go coastal walking and see the stunning views and just to feel the sun warmth on my skin.

Like around 10 million other people in the UK I have a tendency towards a vitamin D deficiency - they check my levels and when they are low I have to take supplements - so for me summer is a time to top up on my natural levels too.

So todays short post's positive is - bring on the sun and the summer and the sunny weather :) And I hope it's going to continue to the weekend too :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

+ 365 Day 76

Today I would like to pay homage to my favourite author who sadly lost his battle with Alzheimer's on 12th March - I am talking about Sir Terry Pratchett who left this world aged 66.

I have to admit I was saddened by his death. I had met him a few times at book signings and also heard him speak at a pagan/new age meet. He came across as an interesting man who was interested in the world around him.

I first found my way into his books aged 13 when I was given a copy of only you can save mankind - a book about a strange boy called Johnny who confuses reality with fantasy and saves the world. There are 3 books in the Johnny series - only you can save mankind, johnny and the dead and johnny and the bomb. All are excellent and easy to read but do have some scary parts.

Following from this I saw another book with his name on it in the library - Mort - my first discworld book. Following on from Mort I read all the discworld books in the library in order and I was hooked. Ever since each year my request for birthday/christmas has always been I want the new Terry Pratchett book.

When I heard he had been diagnosed with alzheimer's back at the beginning of 2008 after he first put out the announcement, my first thought was he will be fine.
I then watched the documentaries he did on it and read about him donating to the alzheimer's society and working to raise its profile in the uk. Back late last year I read the post that Neil Gaimon did about him and the alzheimers. 

But seriously through all this I didn't think he was that bad - even when I read about him missing a discworld convention which he has never done before I didn't really get that he was getting worse. I was shocked to see the announcement of his death on facebook of all places - I thought it was one of those dead celebrity hoaxes until I checked it out on reliable news sources and found out it was real.

I couldn't then and still can't believe that he has died and with him all the stories he hasn't told, I have so many questions about the discworld and it's inhabitants - what happened with carrot and angua? did they have kids? were they werewolves? did little sam become a copper too? do the goblins take over the world with their superior and almost instant grasp of technology? are orcs coming back? will cut my own throat dibbler ever strike it lucky?

Such was his story telling ability that each of his characters I felt like I knew them, they were part of my growing up, I used to geek out with his books, collect clarecraft figures and chat about the books on mirc chat back in the days of dial up.

So how does this fit with positivity?Well - I am grateful that I had the opportunity to meet him briefly, I am thankful that my local library stocked his books and that I got to read them and I am positive his legacy will live on through his books and his passionate belief in pushing for alzheimer's research and funding.

RIP Sir Terry Pratchett - may your walk with death be short and your after life be incredible

Microbiome Plus+ GI Review - 10 days in :)

As I have said before this year I have been on a health kick - I am talking healthy eating (for me that is actually including fruit and veg in my diet and excluding far too many meals out, take aways, fast foods and junk foods) and healthy being - exercise class - I am doing the RikaShake class - think aerobics on a trampoline/Trampette and back swimming and walking for at least 20 minutes every lunch time in work.

I entered into and won a comp on another bloggers site for these Microbiome Plus+ GI tablets.

I was given a code to use to order them for free with free p&p from amazon. They were from a company called iShopNutrition! and they are posted internationally from the USA.

Considering they were coming from the USA they arrived within 2 weeks so not a bad turn around.

The company has a lot to say about these pills - you can read all the positives etc on their amazon page here.

But the gist of it is according to the makers:
- they promote improved mood and energy levels
- help you lose weight
- improve and maintain health

The cost for 1 month's supply is £19.99 and this includes free p&p

So when my package arrived I was quite impressed. It came with some info about the products, a months supply of the Microbiome plus+ GI & a weeks supply of the Microbiome plus+Heart - I haven't tried the heart ones yet as I am sticking to my trial of the GI ones for now.

So each week is separated into a box and there are 2 blister packs in a box - one for the am and one for the pm. 

There's 2 tablets per dose so your actually taking 4 tablets a day. Which I didn't expect - I was expecting a vitamin type pill. They are tablets and capsules form and they are around the size of a paracetamol tablet/capsule so not huge but not overly small either.

I have been taking these now for 10 days and haven't seen an improvement in my tummy health that is noticeable so far - that's not to say there isn't wonderful things going on in my tum - it's just I can't see any improvement right now.

However, I have seen an improvement since day 4 of taking them in my sleeping. I normally struggle with sleep - I generally sleep only 3-4 hours a night which leaves me groggy and tired, since I have been taking these I have been getting more like 5-7 hours sleep a night and I am more awake and alert during the day.

I have lost weight whilst on them however I am not sure if this is due to the pills or due to the fact I am eating healthily and exercising more.

I have another 18 days to go on these but so far so good. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

+ 365 Day 75

Today is Monday

As well as being Monday today is the day we got the results of my auntie's brain scan.

To recap:

My aunty was taken into hospital with stomach pains, severe bloating, slurred speech and general all over pain. Whilst in hospital her condition deteriorated rapidly - she was diagnosed with a chest infection and pneumonia and intubated in ICU.

Due to her condition they made the decision to put her into a medically induced coma.

This was a bad idea

Since being in the coma they haven't been able to wake her - they found that her kidneys had stopped working so put her on dialysis, but this didnt wake her up, they then discovered she was going into multiple organ failure: liver and pancreas also not working. They couldn't work out why. Then they found that her platelets were not working properly so no oxygen was getting to anywhere in her body and her whole body turned blue!

They have now kind of fixed the platelets issue and are working on the organs to be working more efficiently.

They did a brain scan to see if she had any bleeds on the brain or a stroke as 2 days before she was hospitalised she fell and banged her head.

We were prepared for the worse - they had made it clear if brain scan showed no activity then they would be switching off the machines and we as a family agreed with this.

However the news is very good - the brain scans showed no bleed and no evidence of stroke (although they do want to relook at them to check for more subtle damage). The consultant believes she has a 50/50 chance of pulling through. She is at risk of bleeds and if she does bleed she will bleed out and also at risk of septicemia - if either of these things happen then the prognosis is grim, however if they dont happen then the prognosis is good.

They said if she does come out of this its going to take a good 18-24 months for her to recover - she will need physio, speech and language therapy and probably be on dialysis / require a kidney transplant.

We are taking it one day at a time and we are taking the small victories as they come and therefore today's positive is that through technology and science - she is still there and still fighting and as long as there's hope there is a chance.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

+ 354 day 74

Sunday - Mother's Day (UK)

As it's Mothering Sunday - I thought I would take a step back from my general narcissistic mutterings and focus on my mum :)

So here's my top 5 reasons why my mum is so damn awesome :)

- number 5 -

She doesn't mind making a fool of herself and is up for a laugh :)

 - number 4 -

Even though she's terrified of water and swimming or rather drowning - she stepped up and volunteered to take part in the Backlot tour at Disneyworld. The show involved her having around 80,000 gallons of water dumped on her :)

- number 3 -

She's an animal lover - like me - this is a picture of her with her dog Schwartz - sadly Schwartzy had to be put to sleep last year at age 21 - she was broken by it

- number 2 -

She loves food and trying new things - like these HUGE donuts in Camden

- number 1 -

We always have fun and she makes the most of a bad situation - it poured and poured on our holidays last year but that didnt stop us going out and enjoying each and every day - even if the rain water was so bad it was sloshing around our ankles!!!!

I'm happy, grateful, thankful and positive that my mum is awesome :D

Happy Mother's Day Mum

Vidal Sassoon Salonist Hair Dye Review

So a while back I applied to take part in a trial of VS Salonist Hair dry - you may have seen the ads on the TV about it - it's basically a 2-step process to dying your hair at home that is supposed to give the same results as getting it done at a hair salon.

I regularly dye my hair - not because I have grey - happily I haven't had one single grey hair yet! - but because I like to change the colour up a bit. My natural hair colour is medium to dark brown and I have a naural blonde streak which due to the way my parting falls looks like 2 blonde streaks - one either side. This streak gets lighter in the summer under the sun.

I was lucky enough to be chosen for the trial.

The trial pack arrived with all the different bits in it - it came well packaged and in a lovely shiny black VS Sassoon baggie

Inside the bag was a black VS towel - perfect for dying your hair as the dye doesn't show up on it :)

A selection of 4 different dye shades - you couldn't choose the exact shades you wanted - you had to give 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice. I wanted a purple colour for myself and was lucky enough to get that choice included in my selection. You get 1 dye for yourself to try and 3 to give out to family / friends / colleagues etc to try.

The shades I received were:

- 3/66 - Darkest intense violet
- 6/0 - Light neutral brown
- 7/0 - Dark neutral blonde
- 9/0 - Light neutral blonde

The pack also included a really comprehensive pack of information, coupons, feedback sheets etc.

I spoke to some family and work colleagues and found new homes for 2 of the dyes straight away:

- I was going to trial the intense violet
- a work colleagues wife was trying the light brown
- my mum was trying the light blond

I did struggle to find someone to try the final dye as most people I know seem to have red or dark hair :\ However I finally convinced my neighbour to give it a try :D

My pack arrived a while ago but due to family circumstances and ill health I have only recently gotten round to trying the dye myself.

So I tried 3/66 - Darkest intense violet

This is my hair colour before using the dye - it's medium/short length as boringly brown

So - what's in the box?

- a pair of very sturdy black rubber gloves
- a small plastic black mixing bowl
- a red brush
- a white bottle and red tube (dye mix stage 1)
- a sachet (to add to dye mix stage 2)
- a tube of conditioner
- instructions!

I feel I should say here that the gloves provided are excellent much better than the usual flimsy ones that tear or allow the dye to leach through!

Stage 1 - mixing it up

This involves squeezing in the red tube into the bowl and adding the white bottle's contents (whilst wearing the rubber gloves)

You then have to mix the two together using the brush so that it forms a smooth paste

I ended up doing this in the sink - it is surprisingly time consuming mixing it together with the brush - with a normal dye its a 30 second job (add tube to bottle close and shake til mixed) - this took approx 2 minutes to do.

You then start the dying process. Wow this was complicated - you apply the dye using the brush and you use 3/4 of the mix - there's a dividing line in the bowl to show you how much to use - first you apply it to either side of your parting, then you apply it to your hairline around your forehead - so far so easy...

Then it get's complicated!

You have to apply it to the hair line along the back of your head - this was kinda hard - I can't see the back of my head even using a mirror I have no idea if I got it all on or not and along the hairline by your ears etc. You then massage it in with your finger tips

This all took around 10-15 minutes to do

Stage 2

You add the red sachet to the bowl and mix - the sachet comes with helpful easy tear strips however by this point you have been massaging the dye into your hair so you have dye on the gloves, its slippery, getting a purchase to tear open the packet is impossible - I ended up using my teeth!

You mix the red sachet with whats left in the bowl and then using your hands add it to your hair - making sure every part is covered and massaging it in with your finger tips.

I took a look at the picture on the instructions which showed a little diagram of someone with perfectly smooth looking hair and no dye anywhere but on her hair - and then I took a look at myself - due on my arms, my neck, shoulders, back (no idea how) ears, cheeks, forehead etc... hmm didnt look quite the same. However I removed the gloves and using a wet wipe removed the excess dye

I will say the dye didn't smell too bad - when mixing there was a very strong smell which wasn't pleasant but as soon as I started applying the smell seemed to evaporate.

I left the dye on for the required 30 minutes and then following the instructions rinsed it out of my hair until the water ran clear, shampoo'd using a colour safe shampoo (I used pantene cos I'm worth it :p ) - at this point I noticed how truly awful my hair felt - it was like a hard mat of straw - I have very soft fluffy hair generally but my hair felt like something dead!!! I admit to a slight panic and had visions of my hair falling out in clumps! Having calmed myself down I remembered I had the conditioner rinse to do - sometimes when you dye your hair you do get that straw feeling but after using the conditioner it normally settles and you end up with super smooth soft silky locks.

The conditioner instructions said to apply for 5 minutes and that the tube held enough for up to 6 weeks (using it once a week).

After 5 minutes my hair still didn't feel good so i added a tiny bit of water and massaged it through my hair and left it for a further 5.

I washed it all out and brushed my hair through - it still didnt feel nice but it did feel better. I let my hair dry naturally and waited to see how the colour came through.

I also spent about 10 minutes scrubbing all the random patches of colour that had stained my skin.

Once dried the colour was a disappointment :( it wasn't an intense violet i.e. purple with a blue tinge. It was more like a plum with a red tinge. The colour is nice but it isn't the colour on the box.

I have since washed my hair 7 times (daily and after exercise class and after swimming) the colour appears to be the same as after the first wash which is a good indicator that it will have staying power.

So my thoughts on the product as a whole:

1. I didn't find it a quick and easy process to do - I think to follow the steps exactly and to manage this properly you need to have someone to help you particularly with the back bits

2. It seemed a bit fiddly with too many different things to do - it was also time consuming - it normally takes me 45 minutes to dye my hair and that includes the waiting time and rinsing it out! This took approx 1 hour 15 mins to do by following the instructions exactly - not a stream lined process

3. The colour wasn't as advertised - it could be that my hair naturally brings out the red rather than the blue colours and someone else would get a different result but I was disappointed - I was hoping for the violet colour which I didn't get.

4. The quality of the product is definitely high - it's a good quality product and the items provided with it - gloves, brush, bowl etc all excellent quality and did the job well

5. Would I buy this? I have to say probably not - it retails at around £9.99 and the dyes I normally use cost around half that at £4.99. It took too long and was just to fiddly for me.

The End Results: